Sous Vide and Mason Jars

In the General Sous Vide Questions Forum
I just made some great cranberry sauce by dumping the cranberries into a Mason Jar and putting that into the sous vide cooker. I have a vacuum sealer, but rarely use it, and am not crazy about ziplock bags. I'm fortunate enough to have a steady supply of meat which is already vacuum-sealed, so generally I can use that.

Any ideas, comments or concerns about using jars this way?

13 Replies So Far

Cooking in a mason jar should work just fine, especially if there is some type of cooking medium in it such as oil or a liquid. If there is only air in the jar I'm not sure but it seems it would work fine, as long as you can keep the whole thing submerged, but someone else might know more about that. I know many people sous vide with jars, especially for cheese, yogurt, custards, etc.
The main purpose of the bagging is to exclude air and make it easier to submerge in the water bath. Fully submerging the bag creates the best and most consistent method of heating: water is a relatively good heat transfer medium, air is not.

Using a mason jar will mean slower heat transfer and longer cooking times (less surface area in contact with the water) and different, less consistent temperature profile across the food being cooked.

Provided you understand the effects of using a mason jar as opposed to a vacuum bag, I don't see a problem, but you should avoid long cooking at low temperatures or any recipe that needs fine control of temperature. Also allow more cooking time.
Have you thought of making yogurt in the mason jars? Bring milk to 180 for 30 minutes to pasteurize, cool to 110, ad a spoonful of live yogurt, incubate at 110 for 6 hours. Viola! Yogurt
I personally haven't made it but I've heard of other people using it and it is a great idea. Much easier than trying to monitor the temperature with a thermometer!
Since my last post I have made yogurt several times, here's my recipe for sous vide yogurt. Enjoy!
Mason jars can be vacuum sealed....I just bought the sealers for mason jars from Food Saver to use in Mason Jar Food Preparing....Salads, etc.

I don't know, but I think the vacuum sealer will remove the air and seal the jars .....I don't like the idea of using plastic in my kitchen - I will definitely be researching the use of mason jars....I may contact Food Saver and Ball to learn more.

Colleen, just a reminder that it's really not the air that's the problem, it's the space between the food and the water. So a jar with air vs no-air would probably behave about the same for sous vide. It's a matter of the heat needing to transfer from the water into the food. Actually, not that I think about it, a jar with a vacuum might be worse in this context since there's less particulate matter to transfer the heat. With plastic bags, the real purpose of the vacuum is just to get the food as close to the water as possible.
How tight am I supposed to screw down a lid on the jar
It depends on what you're cooking. Some people just tighten it all the way (I tend to do this) but others are afraid the jar might break so they leave the lid above the water line and leave it un-tightened. It's a matter of what you feel comfortable with.

Thanks, and happy cooking!
We use water bath cooking for some food and it works.
It shoud be possible to cook in a jar. We need to experiment to find out how long it takes to heat up the content of the jar and if it is manitained during the cooking period

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